The Eckerd College Library opened its very own Seed Library on April 12 with a collection of more than 600 packets of 50 varieties of Florida-friendly wildflowers, herbs and edibles to share with budding gardeners across the community, said Nancy Schuler, librarian and assistant professor of electronic resources, collection development and instructional services. The project was funded with a $500 Intergenerational Learning grant from the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College.
“We did an inventory and we’ve already circulated about 200 packets,” said Schuler. “It’s great to see that the community is interested in grabbing seeds, sharing them and possibly growing them into something they might eat.”
Similar to local seed libraries in Dunedin and Childs Park, Eckerd’s Seed Library collected its samples by purchasing seeds from local and regional seed companies as well as accepting donations. People can take up to three packets of seeds per week, and if they are successful in growing their plants or harvesting an edible, they are encouraged to collect the seeds and donate them to the library for further distribution of locally produced seeds. These exchanges promote biodiversity in our ecosystem. More than 60% of seeds in the world come from four major companies, which creates plant monocultures, according to the Seed Library website.
The idea for Eckerd’s collection began with a final project for Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre Antonia Krueger’s Animals and Performance class last fall. Schuler helped the class source and acquire seeds to plant a butterfly garden that became an art installation without audio and visual components.